1–2 Mar 2025 249 days to go! #BostonRunShow

A Runner’s High – The Boston Run Sh

Motivational speaker, Mary McManus reviews her weekend at the Boston Run Show. An event for runners no matter how far or how fast.

Day 1

Tom and Ruth Anne dropped me off at the Hynes Convention Center at 8:30 on Saturday morning. I was greeted by Chloe from Raccoon Media Group who greeted the Ambassadors with her delightful British accent. We handed out giveaways to the attendees whose excitement about this year’s Boston Run Show was palpable.

There is an inexplicable energy that happens whenever runners gather together. Throughout the weekend I reunited with runner friends, many of whom I hadn’t seen since the pandemic and made new friends with other Ambassadors and presenters.

My first stop was to see my friends Alan and Shari Frost of FlavaNaturals fame. 

We met them at the Hyannis Marathon Expo in 2020 and have a subscription to their products. Their tag line is “Chocolate was your weakness. Now it’s your strength.” Their products are chock filled with flavanols which have incredible health benefits as borne out my many research studies. New York City Marathon winner Rod Dixon and the Pittsburgh Steelers have endorsed FlavaNaturals. Rod has his products shipped to New Zealand!

After leaving Alan and Shari to work their mojo at the Show, I found myself standing next to Scott Jurek. I shared my journey with him. His mother lives with MS. I asked him about the possibility of being on the On the Runs podcast. He was incredibly gracious and kind. As we were getting ready to say goodbye, he said that while elite runners and breaking records are all fine and good, the sport of running really needs stories like mine to inspire!

I went to the Cafe to plan my day after being intrigued by unique products and brands. It was almost time for the Power of Community panel. I ‘just happened’ to find the Trail Animals Running Club Booth. Patrick Caron who we’ve known through the Boston Bulldogs Running Club and our mutual love of the On the Runs podcast (Patrick was also a guest), was moderating the panel. He led the way to the Trail and Ultra Stage.

Before the start of the panel, I was treated to a high five and positivity hug from Maurice Lowman aka Marathon Panda. I ‘met’ Maurice through the On the Runs podcast and love following his energetic posts on social media. He is as real and authentic in 3-D as he is in social media.

The panelists shared their running journeys including how running is an integral part of substance use recovery. I was inspired by the panelists’ vulnerability and authenticity, and passion for inclusion. The Trail Sisters of Boston have a philosophy of no drop meaning that they stay with the back of the pack runners regardless of the pace. The Boston Bulldogs Running Club prides themselves on the power of community bringing non-runners into the fold to support them on the road to recovery!

After a lunch break, it was time for a reunion with Paulie Collyer at the Events Village who was hosting Bill Rodgers at his The Fun Road Race Company table. I hadn’t seen Bill since Hyannis 2020 when I shared the stage with him at the Pre-Race Pasta Dinner. I received the warmest hugs from both Bill and his partner Karen. I first met Bill in 2009 before my first Half Marathon on the road to Boston. I met Karen at the 2014 Bill Rodgers 5K for Prostate Cancer. We shared warm memories about that day. You can hear her in this video saying, “God bless her” after Phil Lipof gives a bit of my history.

Karen told me she read my book and was so moved by my journey.  We chatted like no time had passed since we last saw each other. We vowed to stay in touch. I told Bill about my first DNF in Bermuda. “Only one? You know I’ve had a lot more!” He asked me several times, “But are you doing okay?” “Oh yes,” I replied and told him that God willing I’ll be out there next year in Hyannis at  the 10K.

I must say that I feel and look better now after being off of the sidelines training again for in person events!

I went to the charging station to recharge my phone and myself after such an exciting day! I debated whether or not I was going to stay for the next speakers at the Trail and Ultra Stage or leave. I felt spirit nudge me to stay. On my way to the stage, I recognized a dear runner friend from behind by her beautiful blue fingernails and blonde hair from behind. “Rachel?”

“How did you recognize me?” she asked as we tightly hugged each other. We said almost in unison I recognized her beautiful nails and hair. We took a few moments together before I headed to the Trail and Ultra Stage for the next speaker, Hilary Topper.

When asked if anyone had questions in the audience, my hand shot up and I didn’t know why. “Thank you so much for an amazing talk,” I said. “Where can we get your book?” Hilary thanked me for my comment and question. “I’ll be signing books in the back. They are $20.” 

I knew that I needed to meet her and share my story. It was a goosebump moment as she shared with me that her mom had polio and was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome. She was enamored with my journey as I was enamored with hers; “From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete: A Portrait of a Non-Athletic Triathlete.”

While waiting for Scott Jurek, the last speaker of the day, I reconnected with two more running friends. My heart overflowed with gratitude for the synchronicity that was waiting for me once I made the decision to stay at the Run Show.

The Fireside Chat with Scott Jurek was a phenomenal way to end the day.

Scott shared many nuggets of running wisdom as a wonderful metaphor for life as he shared stories from his stellar career. I felt a stirring in my soul as he said that there’s really no experience comparable to being a part of an event. It is unparalleled to anything he has tried to recreate outside of an event. There’s discomfort and a challenge that helps us to grow whatever that distance may be for each individual. It was thrilling to have my choice validated to be off the sidelines.

day 2

Michael Seaman had a vision, a dream for an event where runners could come together whatever their pace or distance. One day his wife encouraged him to stop talking about it and do something about it. You can hear the back story of The Boston Run Show on Episode 89 of the On the Runs Podcast

Tom and Ruth Anne joined me for the start of Day 2. They were treated as VIP’s! The excitement of the crowd waiting to enter to hear Michael Johnson’s fireside chat filled the air. The Raccoon Media Group team were feverishly handing out swag to the queue. I asked if they needed help.

With a big sigh of relief, Chloe said, “Yes please!” I filled up a box with non-alcoholic Sam Adams Beer, t-shirts, hats and cooling towels and worked the line. Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, David Hellard asked trivia questions for the gift giveaway.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, much of the crowd made their way to the Marathon and Road Stage to hear Kelly Roberts moderate a fireside chat with 4 time Gold Medalist Michael Johnson. It was standing room only. Tom, Ruth Anne and I enjoyed seeing our friends at the FlavaNaturals booth:

Alan was ecstatic with being a part of the Show and plans to return next year. “The audience is exactly who we want to reach for our product,” Alan said. They asked questions and were engaged with the information he provided about his proprietary product.

Ruth Anne and I took photos with the Boston Marathon trophy:

We reminisced about our 2009 Boston Marathon run. While we may not have brought home ‘the’ trophy, Team McManus felt like champions for taking on the challenge and raising $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital.

Ruth Anne had course work to finish. We were about to say goodbye but she decided to stay a little longer. Seemingly out of nowhere, we saw our dear friend Suzanne Showstack Adams.

“I knew I was going to see you,” Suzanne said. 

“I felt the same way.” We knew that we were each Ambassadors. Suzanne was with her dad Bruce. We tightly hugged and expressed our deepest condolences on the loss of Bonnie, Suzanne’s mom and Bruce’s beloved wife. We were blessed to know Bonnie when we were part of the Spaulding Race for Rehab Team. Our eyes filled with tears as Suzanne shared Bruce’s why for running the Boston Marathon this year for Spaulding. Here’s a link to his fundraising page. We posed for a ‘team reunion’ photo:

After more conversation overflowing with love and support, we hugged so long. Tom and Ruth Anne went on their way and I made my way to the cafe to recharge after an exciting start to the day!

Eric and Erika, co-hosts of the ‘pod’ made their way to the cafe. What a thrill to finally meet in 3-D and enjoy the Show with them. We met up with another member of the pod fam known as Mr. 305NoMore whose incredible journey of transformation can be heard on Episode 45. We met with the Team from Racoon Media who arranged to have Mike on the pod exploring possibilities for next year’s show!

I connected with David Whelan on LinkedIn when I saw he would be taking the stage Sunday afternoon to present on “Feed What You Want to Grow.” What an incredible inspiration! I took notes feeling in awe of his miraculous journey.

Prior to David taking the stage, I had a delightful encounter with Kelly Roberts and Laura Green. 

“You know,” I said to Laura Green. “You and I have something in common. We were each guests on the On the Runs podcast.” Kelly took a photo of us:

As you can see from the smiles on the faces in the crowd, Laura’s talk on “My lifelong quest to be friends with Des Linden” was a perfect way to end the Boston Run Show weekend.

Congratulations to Mike and the outstanding crew of Raccoon Media Group for an exceptional experience. 

I experienced a post-event let down after all the magic from the weekend. Fortunately, I received a post-event survey that included a link to get tickets to the Boston Outdoor Expo happening in Boston on 4/27 and 4/28. See you there!

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,

about the author

Mary McManus, motivational speaker, critically acclaimed author and poet, 2009 Boston Marathon finisher, polio and trauma survivor has a remarkable story of resilience, healing, hope and possibilities.

Every day is a celebration of life for Mary who refused to take the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome sitting down. Her pen became her divining rod for healing harnessing the power of the mind/body connection through poetry. She embarked on a journey that took her from taking a leap of faith, leaving behind her award-winning career as a VA social worker, to the finish line of the 2009 Boston Marathon, and many adventures as a woman transformed through the sport of running.

Mary has wowed audiences with her powerful message of healing, hope and infinite possibilities. She was recently featured on the Proud to BU podcast highlighting illustrious BU alumni, and a guest on On the Runs podcast. Mary was featured on Boston’s Channel 7 after her inspiring Boston Marathon run, many podcasts and radio shows, and featured in best-selling author Dr. David Hamilton’s book, “The Tenth Anniversary Edition of How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.”

Visit her website by clicking here